In response to mounting concerns about the possible impact of a weak El Niño on Filipino farmers, Greenpeace Philippines is calling on both the national and local governments to adopt and support policies and programs to help transition the country’s farming system towards a climate-resilient model.
Greenpeace Food and Agriculture Campaigner Wilhelmina Pelegrina said:
“I’ve just returned from a visit to North Cotabato and was struck by the number of farms and families already suffering due to the dry spell. Harvests have been reduced or lost, and families are going hungry, reinforcing the urgent need to shift our country’s agriculture system to a more climate-resilient model.
“Farmers need our help right now and support from the government and NGOs is crucial. We need to equip them with timely weather information so they can plan to adjust their farming systems and to adopt ecological farming technologies that work with diversity. Diversied cropping will provide them better protection against future crop losses and help them avoid hunger.”
Greenpeace also documented how large-scale corporate farms of bananas were affected by the dry spell.
Captain Joelito Tayco of Katipunan, M’lang, North Cotabato noted how many banana farm workers, who are wholly reliant on the plantation for income, have been personally impacted. “Around 60 farm workers were already laid-off from their work this week.”
While there are many areas that already employ organic farming and ecological agriculture practices, these efforts are relatively small-scale in nature.
“This early information system should be coupled with programs on how farmers could plant diverse crops, raise farm animals, and develop livelihood strategies to provide them with some degree of food and livelihood security,” Pelegrina said.